A force in the creative industries, Jamie Windust is an award-winning model, editor and writer. As a journalist, they’ve penned articles for the likes of GQ, Dazed, Cosmopolitan and HUNGER. And while they’re still 23, they’re also the author of their very own book, In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life. Off the back of all this witty and insightful writing, as well as their experience founding LGBTQIA+ style and culture publication Fruitcake Magazine, they were tapped as a Contributing Editor for queer bible Gay Times.
Jamie is also known for their considerable social media presence, using Instagram to share looks and funny snippets from their life. With over 60,000 Instagram followers, their page might be light-hearted but it creates much-needed visibility and allows for non-binary people to catch a glimpse of another member of their community living life and thriving.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martens 1461, we called Jamie up over Zoom to discuss their Dr. Martens story, the vital importance of queer media and why the burden shouldn’t lie with marginalised communities to push conversations forward.
What are you most proud of from the work you do?
The ability to differentiate between what I’m good at it and what I’m expected to do. I care less now about expectation of sharing trauma or too much lived experience. Now I’m like; “What am I good at? What do I enjoy?” What I’m good at doesn’t have to have a message that is too niche or too wholesome or too emotional. I disregard the term “activist” because I don’t care for it, it was placed upon me rather than me birthing it. Having a laugh is what I’m proud of.
When do you feel most yourself?
When I am able to just do what I want, not what people want of me. When I don’t care about what people think and am in the moment of; “This is just for me and my joy.”
What does fashion mean to you?
In the past year my fashion has changed quite a lot and that reflects a change in my maturity, my adulthood and my intelligence. When my mind changes, my fashion changes. Now I look like a supply teacher which I thoroughly enjoy. My fashion fluctuates with my mood, with my experience of life and it’s the one place where I can have a bit of a laugh. People always ask me; “Do you take fashion seriously?” The answer is that I do, but I’m also constantly taking the piss with it, which I think everyone should do.
How do you express yourself online?
By being a bit of a knob and hoping people like it. I’ve always used online spaces as a stomping ground for sharing things I would want to share with people in person who I don’t always have in my physical vicinity. At the beginning of having social media I used it in a diaristic fashion because I didn’t have people [near me] that I could speak to. I don’t really mind about what I share online, I just don’t care what other people expect of me now. If I’m online being boring, that’s very fun. If I’m online shouting about something I’m passionate about, that’s also fun. There should be balance in that, there should not be a binary of; “you must talk about about activism topics, you cannot show yourself watching Gogglebox.” I will happily do both.
You’re currently a Contributing Editor at Gay Times. Tell us, why is queer media important?
As someone who works in queer media and who consumes queer media, there is a narrative that it is very in its lane. There’s an argument that it can be quite traditional and what I like to champion in my work and when I consume queer media is that it is fully inclusive of the subculture that it is trying to represent. In my work with Gay Times I try to push people or conversations to the forefront that aren’t necessarily seen in the mainstream, because [those publications] find it too risky or too dangerous or too contested. Queer media for me still has that fire that pushes conversations that need to be had up the conversational ladder.
What does subculture mean to you?
There’s power in a subculture, it’s a bit rogue, a bit rebellious, a bit cheeky. I like to see the ways that subculture can contribute to mass culture.
You mention bringing overlooked conversations to the forefront in your work as an editor. How do we push conversations forward?
It’s too big of a question to be honest, a lot of the time marginalised voices are asked that question. We should consider where the burden of moving conversations forward should lay? Should that be with the marginalised voices, or should that be more structural? Recently we’ve seen a lot of moments where you need structural, governmental change to happen before the conversation can move, you almost hit the glass ceiling of how much conversation you can have. If you take trans people in the media, we have been pushing for change for so long, now things can only change if the top dogs do something to change it. We can’t push all the time.
What do you want the world to know about you?
That I’m multifaceted, not necessarily at a bougie career level but as a human being. With marginalised voices it’s so easy in work life, but also social life, to be told that you have one purpose and that’s to share stories from your community. If I decide to do that in my work, people should know it’s a choice. When it comes to socialising, I shouldn’t need to be a voice or a change-maker. As soon as that label was placed upon me, my life changed, in good ways but also in bad ways. There’s such an intense pressure to be perfect and no-one is, all I can do is advocate for what I believe in and try to have a laugh.
As someone who often takes a stand for the things you believe in, what does Dr. Martens stand for to you?
To me, it’s a brand that promotes an idea of heritage and of hard work. It has a lot of history and it has a real image: it’s tough, it’s strong, it’s reliable, it’s vocal. It has a long history with subcultures and it’s still continuing to have that same message. A lot of brands try to keep up with the times and fail. Dr. Martens have realised what people like about that brand and they’ve stuck to it their whole life and they’re reaping the benefits because people can really relate to the story behind it.
What’s your Dr. Martens story?
It’s great that Dr. Martens have a history of working with marginalised voices, really allowing them to control the narrative that is expressed. I’ve worked with them on their podcast before and they’ve been an incredibly great brand for listening to what the people they’re working with actually want and in a way that’s not voyeuristic or tokenistic. There seems to be a real passion for what they want to do, what they want to say and what they want to elevate. It doesn’t come across that they’re just doing it for clout, it’s part of their brand ethos and heritage.
The 1461s you’re wearing right now have just turned 60 — are they looking good for their age?
It’s definitely a classic style. If you were to think of a Dr. Martens shoe, this is what you’d think of. As someone who likes to play around with style a lot, it’s an incredibly versatile style that can slot into pretty much every outfit that I want to wear. It’s unchanged yet it’s still completely bang on what I would want to wear and what a lot of people my age, any age really, would want to wear.
Loved getting to know Jamie? Catch them here on Dr. Martens Talking Tough Podcast, where they discuss the importance of visibility for non-binary people and why everyone should learn to make their lives less about the labels they go by and more about the joy they bring.
Stay tuned for more Activism At Home stories throughout the month of April. Shop the 1461 at drmartens.com.